New military recruit died of meningitis shortly after being
vaccinated for it.
Officials: Recruit Did Not Die Of Strep A
Tue Dec 24, 2002
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A Marine recruit who died Dec. 15 had an overwhelming meningococcal
bacteria infection that was different from the streptococcus A that
infected 185 other recruits at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, it was
No other recruits at the MCRD have shown symptoms or have been diagnosed
with a meningococcal infection, Capt. John Malone, medical services
director at Naval Medical Center San Diego, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
It was purely chance that the two separate bacterial infections,
meningococcal and step A, hit the recruit population at the same time,
Other members of Pvt. Miguel Zavala's platoon received a special oral
antibiotic the day he died that should safeguard them against the bacteria,
Doctors did not give the antibiotic, called levofloxacin, to all 4,500
recruits and depot staff because no one else showed symptoms of the rapidly
moving infection that killed Zavala, Malone said.
Recruits in other platoons and the public are not at risk because the
bacteria is only spread to others in the same living area, Malone said.
"You have to be in the same household," Malone told the Union-Tribune. "You
don't get it by just walking across the parade ground."
All recruits entering MCRD are vaccinated against the meningococcal
bacteria, but the vaccine is not always effective, Malone said.
One recruit remains in critical condition from the step A-related pneumonia
outbreak that struck the depot.
More than 126 people were hospitalized with pneumonia, though not all were
related to strep A.